For more than two decades now I’ve been patiently
documenting the British Horror Revival. What started out as an interesting
collection of distinctively social realist horror films has blossomed and expanded
and kept on expanding. So that the comparatively short period covered by my post-2000
British horror masterlist now accounts for about 80% of all UK horror films
This is insane, clearly. It’s like letting other people
write about the Premier League while I write about every other football club in
Britain, right down to Sunday morning amateur teams.
I have already written one book, Urban Terrors
, covering the
British Horror Revival from its late 1990s origins up to the singularity of Mum
, the first UK film released simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD and on VOD. Over
the next few years I will be publishing my magnum opus: a complete catalogue of
every British horror movie 2000-2019. About 1,050 films spread over three volumes,
with a fourth collecting together 300+ incomplete/unreleased features.
I’m ten films away from completing Volume 1 (Volumes 2 and 3
are also mostly complete). I expect to produce that next year. Presumably
self-published, unless anyone wants to make me an offer.
Next year. 2020. A new decade.
Here’s the thing. I really don’t want to keep on doing this
for another ten years. I’m 51 now. I have other half-written books I want to
finish before I die. I have other films I want to watch.
My masterlist will close for good on 31 December 2019.
Obviously I will still be discovering films and releases which precede that
date for many months to come, filling in gaps and revising data. But any film
released on 1 January 2020 or later is outside my remit. I want my life back.
This is where you come in. I’ve spent all this time cataloguing
and reviewing these films because Somebody Had To Do It. Unless someone takes
the trouble to document these films when they appear, they will be lost to
researchers forever. (You can’t rely on the IMDB. Plenty of the films on my
list aren’t on the IMDB and many others have incorrect data.)
So this is an open invitation. If anyone wants to take up the
mantle of British horror film historian for the next decade, you are very, very
welcome. The post is about to become vacant and I would love to see it filled.
It would be up to you what criteria you establish
for inclusion on your masterlist; I’m not going to prescribe anything like
that. But I will say that this is a big job which requires constant prowling and
digging around all corners of the web. You can’t just set up an alert and wait
for things to come to you. These films can get released in any medium in any
territory. This is a job for someone obsessive who loves looking for stuff and
eventually finding it. It can be tedious, but it can also be very rewarding.
Perhaps a group of you want to do this. Perhaps two or more
people will take on the gig separately and compete to see who can unearth the
information first. I really don’t mind. It’s not up to me. I can give you
nothing but my blessing.
But I do hope that someone will take on this mantle. Because
otherwise, the recorded history of British horror cinema, from the silent era through
the golden age of Hammer and Amicus, and then into the boom years of the early
21st century will suddenly lurch to a halt in 2020. Film historians
of the future will have an impossible job trying to find this stuff if no-one
records it at the time. What they’ll be left with is an unrepresentative handful
of high-profile releases that won’t in any way reflect the actual state of the genre.
And that would be a real shame.